Posted by Vale
I am a celebrant of the tribe of IOCF (lapsed). We have a short creed that describes a Civil Funeral, it goes:
A Civil Funeral is driven by the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family, not by the beliefs or ideology of the person conducting the funeral. It sits between a religious service and a humanist funeral.
We swing both ways, you might say. The question is, how far should we swing?
I have been asked to lead services recently that are effectively religious services: two hymns, the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer (suitably non-denominational and non-specific ) at committal too.
The rationale for the family seems to be that they have no living connection with a church, but they want the trappings and reassurance of something very traditional. They also, I think, want to feel in control of the process. I am a reassuring presence, because they are commissioning me.
The services themselves are lovely – warm and full of comfort…but something niggles at me. When does responding to a family’s wishes become a masquerade? When should you call for the priest?